Inclusive holiday celebrations

This winter at UBC, our community is celebrating events and holidays from around the world. Our students, staff and faculty come from many cultural backgrounds and faith identities, and at this time of year, we have an opportunity to celebrate the cultures that make up our UBC community.

Some celebratory events are coming up in the next few weeks, including Mawlid an Nabi (Islam), Hanukkah (Judaism), Yule (Paganism), and Christmas (Christianity). In February, we will see festivities for the Lunar New Year (Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist). See the Days of Significance list to see all the events and celebrations coming up soon.

Ways to Celebrate in the Workplace

We have a great opportunity to celebrate the season together, in a respectful and positive way that can help build intercultural understanding.

  • Display a calendar in your workplace to raise awareness of important cultural/faith events and holidays throughout the entire year.
  • Celebrate all faiths present in your workplace.
  • Consider having a New Year’s celebration party instead of a holiday party in December.
  • Be flexible with the needs of staff around faith and/or holiday celebrations.
  • In your workplace or at celebration events, bring together decorations and food from the many cultures in your workplace, and encourage staff to share stories about their favourite traditions.
  • Be respectful of religious holidays at this time of year when planning events and meetings. Check the Days of Significance calendar for details.

Office Decorations

Here are some tips to make your office decorations inclusive and respectful of all cultures and beliefs:

  • Aim for neutral decor in the front-facing areas of your office
  • Ensure your office is accessible and that decorations do not prevent or block access to public services.
  • Consider how your office can celebrate dates significant to all members of your workplace. Invite staff from all faith identities to be involved in the office decorating discussion.
  • Set an agreed upon limit to the number of days that your office will display decorations, and have a discussion about what other times of year you might want to decorate, in celebration of other events.
  • Use the holidays as an opportunity to build community within your office, and with the people your office serves or supports.

If you are feeling excluded as a result of office celebrations, you are encouraged to reach out to a colleague or a supervisor and have a conversation about how you feel and how you would like your culture and beliefs to be included. At UBC we should all feel comfortable to share our culture and beliefs with others. You are welcome to contact the Equity and Inclusion Office or your HR Advisor to discuss.

We hope that this advice provides some suggestions on how to foster community and inclusion at this time of year through encouraging the celebration of our many cultures and faiths on campus.

Relevant links

Preparing an essential service level plan in advance of possible weather-related campus disruptions

Do you have an up-to-date staffing plan in case of a campus disruption? While the weather forecast in Vancouver looks seasonally rainy for now, HR recommends that you have a plan for essential staffing in the event of an extreme weather, such as a snow or ice storm. Setting up a plan in advance will allow you to address any issues with your team and with your HR Advisor.

Some things to consider:

  • Review the services your unit offers to the university, and determine which of those services are operationally essential.
  • Have a discussion with employees who are in those roles and let them know the university’s expectations and policy in the event of extreme weather.
  • If you have essential CUPE 2950 positions, follow the process as outlined in Article 13.01 and Letter of Agreement 13.01 of the collective agreement, which requires communication with Human Resources (contact Korey Onyskevitch at onyskevitch@ubc.ca) and the union. This does not preclude your ability to request additional essential services should the need arise.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Human Resources Advisor.

IRP HR update call Nov. 7: Slides and recording available

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Integrated Renewal Program HR update call on Nov. 7. If you weren’t able to make it, or you would like to review the slides and the call, there is a recording available.

We will have information about the next IRP HR update call in an upcoming edition of HR Network News.

PD Opportunity: Difficult Conversations: Strategies for Dealing with Challenging Situations: Dec. 10

We have an upcoming workshop on Dec. 10: Difficult Conversations: Strategies for Dealing with Challenging Situations. This workshop is for anyone who needs to have challenging conversations as part of their work.

Learning Outcomes

  • At the end of this seminar, you will be able to know how to identify resistant behaviour in yourself and others;
  • have a greater understanding of what the physiological responses to emotional challenges look and feel like;
  • be able to identify your personal strategies for managing your own defensiveness as well as others; and
  • recognize when to push and when to back off to get your needs met.

Course Information

Date: Dec. 10, 2018, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Location: TEF III, Room 610
Cost: $350
Register online

You may be able to use your professional development funding towards this course. Visit the PD funding page for your employee group to learn more, or contact pd.workshops@ubc.ca with questions.